A (slightly late) Mother’s Day post

Just before we get started – yes, I made sure that Mom saw this on Mother’s Day. So I am indeed a Good Son, which I know was a great concern of everyone’s.

So here’s this year’s Mother’s Day piece:

Laurie Anderson

This comes from Anderson’s song “O Superman,” which is a rather trippy song, all things considered:

Now there’s a lot to unpack there, and for me it recalls a very specific time period from college. Way too long to explain, but it warms my heart.

The bit that I pulled out for the piece stands out as a rather unconventional message for moms – that at the end of all things, when all else fails, mom is there.

I really like how the versal turned out – I always get nervous doing those without a clear vision of what I want, because I’m convinced something will go wrong. This worked out, though. The blue and white part could have been a little clearer, but again – lack of foresight. It’ll get you every time.

The first mock-up had a versal for each pair of lines, but I scrapped that idea right away. It would have been too bulky and distracting, aside from spelling out “WAA” down the side, a sound my mother hasn’t had to endure from me in quite a long time.

Let’s see, other notes… I picked Quadrata because these lyrics have a kind of litany feel to them, like something that would be chanted in a Mother’s Day ritual. Mind you, probably chanted in front of a great stone monolith of a statue whose eyes would glow red once the chanting was finished, but that’s pure speculation. In the song, this bit is immediately followed by a perky, “Hi, Mom!” but I left that out, as I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

The three key words – Justice, Force, and Mom – are all colored in their first appearance, but not their second seeing as how they’re “gone”. The color scheme of the versal is meant to echo those colors as well as the colors of the As (which are the color that Love would have been, were it not also “gone”).

I think that’s about it. Mom’s response on Facebook: “Awwww… made me weep!” Which means it worked.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

It’s all in the Versals

I thought today I’d talk about Versals. Why? Well, why not?

If you’ve ever seen something like a Medieval manuscript (and who hasn’t right?), you’ve seen versals – they’re the giant, ornately illustrated capital letter at the beginning of a passage. Here are a few examples:


They’re a great way to add a little flourish and flair to your piece, but they can be a little tricky. Here are a few of mine, with some thoughts about how I worked them out.

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